We all love Grumpy Cat. Not just because she is a feline with an amusing frown and scowl. Nor because her response to everything seems so irredeemably – if humorously – grouchy. I suspect we also love her because we recognise that there is a little bit of Grumpy Cat in us all. She is the outer manifestation of our own inner Grinch.
So what would happen if His Holiness’s Cat (HHC) was to cross paths with Ms Grouch? Assuming there wasn’t an almighty cat fight, what words of wisdom, learned in the inner sanctum of her home in Dharamsala, would HHC share?
- You can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you think about it. Your thoughts are your choice, so cultivate an inner narrative that serves you well – not one that puts a scowl on your face.
- You may like to think that if your world was a particular way you would be happy. But get real. Is every feline who has a beautiful cat basket in a state of permanent, unalloyed bliss? The correlation between outer conditions and inner well-being is indirect. Getting the external aspects of your life perfect is actually irrelevant if you lack inner contentment.
- Who is the grumpiest cat you know? What does he or she think about? Himself, or herself, right? There is no quicker way to cultivate the grouch within than by focusing all your thoughts on your own tiny world. Think of the happiest feline you know? Chances are he or she focuses a lot of thought on others. Enough said.
- Sometimes it helps not to think at all. Harvard Psychology Department, no less, did a study showing that when we pay attention to what we are seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting, we are much likelier to be happy that when we are caught up in rumination. Sometimes it pays to stop and smell the catnip!
- ‘I’ll be happy when …’ is one of the biggest causes of Grumpiness. Don’t buy it. You won’t be happy when. You’ll just move the goal-posts. What’s stopping you being happy here and now? It’s about the journey and your intentions, not the destination.
- Cat food becoming a bit repetitive? Little excitement on the horizon? Most of your problems are of the First World variety, Grumps. Try thinking about the day in the life of your average African, Indian, Asian or South American cat and you’ll get a bit of perspective. Practice gratitude for the all the wonderful things you do have, and think how many felines in the world would love to have your life.
- Remember that life is impermanent. Don’t avoid this important truth. The hours we have to live are finite and precious. Live with this awareness. When you are on your deathbed, do you want to reflect on a life of untrammeled grumpiness? Or would you rather the knowledge that you were able to find happiness and purpose as well as give it to others? The choice is only yours to make.
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For more insights from the Dalai Lama’s Cat, check out her latest book: